Birds, just like any other pet animal, have unique and specific needs, and if those needs aren’t met, a bird may suffer both physically and mentally. If you decide to adopt a bird, there are certain care instructions you must know about before taking your feathered friend home, that way you can determine if bird ownership really is right for you.

Adopt, Don’t Shop

Birds that are bred for pet stores are forced to live in deplorable conditions and are often mistreated by their breeders. Don’t support such breeders and instead, support your local humane society. Doing so not only guarantees that the bad guys don’t win, but also, it saves a bird from a possible and too-soon euthanasia.

Invest Proper Housing

Birds are not used to being captive creatures. They are used to space and freedom. If you are going to own a bird, invest in a cage that affords the fowl as much space as possible. Ideally, you should build or buy a cage as big as your house can accommodate. Many novice bird owners turn whole rooms into bird cages. If you cannot or do not want to give a bird the space it needs to roam around freely, bird ownership may not be for you.

Your bird’s cage should also just be more than bars and a few pieces of newspaper covering the floor. Make the cage feel as natural as possible for your fowl and adorn it with perches, natural-like cage liner (wood chips, corncobs, and sand are the best options), and foliage, such as houseplants and small trees (if possible). You should also provide your bird with food and water bowls that it can easily access when it wants to eat or drink.

Consider Health Concerns

Birds, like other domestic animals, can and do contract health problems. If you decide to adopt, you also decide to care for the creature no matter how inconvenient or expensive health care may be. Have a vet lined up to assess your bird before you bring it home and to make recommendations regarding which vaccines your bird should get and which medications it should receive. Keep your bird safe from parasites and buy bird worming tablets online in bulk.

Provide an Adequate Environment

In addition to investing in a large cage, perches, and foliage, you should also take measures to create the right environment for your particular type of bird. Birds typically can tolerate temperatures that are comfortable for their owners. If you’re too hot or too cold, chances are your bird is as well. If your bird hails from a tropical environment, do your best to provide it with the humidity to which its species is accustomed. You can do this by turning your shower on to all the way hot, closing the bathroom door, and letting your bird enjoy a “steam bath” for a bit. You can also mist its feathers frequently with a spray bottle or with an automatic mister you keep in its cage.

Nutrition

Birds differ from other domestic pets in that they thrive when given commercial foods. Though you may make your dog’s food at home, you shouldn’t do the same for your feathered friend unless your veterinarian approves the diet first. Commercial feeds typically contain the nutrients birds need to thrive, as well as instructions for when and how often to feed your bird.

Bird ownership can be a fun and beautiful experience, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re considering adopting a bird, make sure that it’s something for which you have the time, space, and resources. When given proper housing, medical care, environment, and nutrition, pet birds can thrive in captivity, which is something all bird owners should want for their feathered friends.